Since so much of our holiday cheer and spirit centers on sharing good food with friends and family, we encourage you to follow these simple food safety tips to prevent your loved ones or you from developing a case of “Bah Humbug!” this holiday season.
Ten Holiday Home Food Safety Tips
- Wash hands before, during and after food preparation for at least 20 seconds. Remember to wash hands between switching tasks such as handling raw meat and then cutting vegetables.
- Keep kitchen surfaces such as appliances, countertops, cutting boards and utensils clean throughout meal preparation by properly washing, rinsing and applying an approved sanitizer.
- Always use separate cutting boards for raw meat, poultry and fish and ready to eat foods like fruits and vegetables. Using color-coded cutting boards makes the task at hand easy to remember.
- Use separate utensils to taste, stir and serve food. Remember, NO double-dipping!!
- Use a food thermometer. It is the ONLY reliable way to determine whether that “bird” and other foods are cooked to the proper temperature. Remember to cook your turkey to at least 1650F. Never rely on “clear juices” to signal when your “goose (er….turkey) is cooked.”
- Refrigerate food within two hours of being served to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning.
- Use a refrigerator thermometer and make sure it is set at or below 410F.
- Never allow foods to thaw at room temperature, on the counter or in warm water. Thaw food only in the refrigerator or in the microwave oven. When thawing food in the refrigerator, remember to cover raw meat and place it on the bottom shelf so juices won’t drip onto other foods. When thawing food in the microwave, cook it immediately afterward.
- If taking food to parties, make sure to observe the same safety habits as at home-keep foods well-refrigerated and cook them to proper temperatures.
- When baking, avoid eating foods containing raw eggs like cookie dough or cake batter. Raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria that can lead to food poisoning. Finally, anyone suspected of having had gastrointestinal illness (sometimes called “stomach flu”) should not prepare meals for others.
Cooked Food Temperature Chart
|Food||Temperature||Maintain Temperature For|
|Greens and beans (no meat)||1350F||15 seconds|
|Steaks, chops or roasts (pork, beef, veal or lamb)||1450F||15 seconds; 4 minutes|
|Ground meats (except poultry)||1550F||15 seconds|
|Poultry (chicken, duck, or turkey)||1650F||15 seconds|